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It was a proud day for the South Sydney Rabbitohs community with the foundation club entering the Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup for the first time but they couldn’t conjure a fairytale start after suffering a 22-14 loss against the Cantebury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground.

The game got off to a great start for Souths after second-rower Yilara Widders, daughter of former Rabbitoh Dean, scored an incredible individual try. After gathering the ball 20 metres out, Widders shrugged off a would-be tackler before throwing a dummy and carrying three defenders over the line to send the Rabbitohs faithful into a frenzy.

The Bulldogs hit back five minutes later through a long-range effort from Piper Spackman, who raced 65 metres down field to open their account for 2022.

Just moments after the second half kicked off, some crisp passing saw Bulldogs captain Leela Ma-Chong break the deadlock and give her side an 8-4 lead. The two teams went try-for-try until the Bulldogs scored two in quick succession through Monique Najjar and Nanise Vakacavu to find themselves with some breathing space at 22-10.

Souths mounted a late comeback through Anthony Mundine’s cousin Shyla, who crashed over from short range although it was too little, too late as they went down 22-14.

Canberra Raiders 22 – 36 Illawarra Steelers
Canterbury Bulldogs 22 – 14 South Sydney Rabbitohs
Indigenous Academy Roosters 22 – 10 Parramatta Eels
Newcastle Knights 24 – 14 North Sydney Bears
Cronulla Sharks 10 – 26 St George Dragons
Wests Tigers 26 – 14 Penrith Panthers